"So let us not be blind to our differences but let us direct our attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. " -- John F. Kennedy Introduction The language of business is not always business when it comes to global business because cultures make an extraordinary impact on the interpretations and expectations of all our business norms. Therefore, the understanding of different cultures makes us adapt to doing business in the global market in a better and professional manner and at the same time on a more personalized note.
In-depth studies have to be made before we go on our business trips to foreign countries or when our foreign associates come visiting us for business matters. There are also programs designed to address this issue with specific modules that focus on what client specific country or countries individuals should familiarize themselves with, and how they could learn to overcome the key dimensional cultural differences.
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Businessmen and individuals have to ensure that their behavior and attitude is in synch with their overseas counterparts so as to avoid negativity that could have cause harmful impacts in their business dealing. Many a times the very efforts to learn cultures have clumsily been observed between businessmen from different backgrounds and this in turn has generated mutual respect for each other in appreciation of the efforts put in for being culturally correct. (Harris, et. al, n. d) (Global Service, 2007) Business rarely works without some personalized communication even if businesses are conducted half the worlds away.
Behavior communications is always visible even in an informal note or line through the fax or email or any other form of spoken or written communication, therefore correct cultural etiquette always helps to build and strengthen a successful business network that works to everyone’s interests globally. Acquiring the skills to communicate correctly in context to different cultures is most of the times a difficult task, but the eventual results always lead to successful global business interaction and associations. (Morrison, et. al, 1994)(Carte, Fox.
2004) Adjustment Process When businessmen visit other countries they sometimes experience cultural shock, stress and strain in the unfamiliar surroundings in which they find themselves, this also influences their emotional, mental and physical well-being. This together with the unfamiliar and sometimes strange food they have to contend with causes certain levels of distress such as upset stomachs etc. In their discomfort they feel that they are out of place and have not fully comprehended the customs and behavior of other cultures.
During this transitional experience they have to adapt to the circumstances and modify their behavior and in the process they go though a positive learning curve to eventually adjust themselves to the situations they are in. However, if they unfortunately are not able to adapt to the circumstances then negativity can set in which can lead to helplessness, frustration and anger and result in to disastrous decision making in their business. Businessmen should therefore be mentally and physically prepared to not let cultural shock have any effect of their business instincts.
A strange point of interest is that when these businessmen return after extended visits to their own countries they sometimes go through a reversal of culture shock that causes them to go through similar stress with their family and friends and they have to take time readjust once again to their familiar surroundings. (Mitchell 1999)(Paulson, et. al, 1991) Cross-Cultural Communication It is necessary to know the realities about communication in other cultures because all the countries the world over have already started becoming interdependent, thus communicating across cultural barriers is at times difficult but not impossible to overcome.
Cultural and behavior differences have to be resolved to avoid problems of cross-culture interactions even if people of different background take more time to get familiarized for talking, sharing common ideas and understanding each others points of views. While much of the communication is done through signs and symbols that may differ in their meaning in other places and cultures, the human interaction has been characterized through continual updates of what these signs and symbols mean.
In comparison to the previous 2,500, the last 25 years have dramatically increased our knowledge and understanding of different places and cultures. Communication has now progressed to electronic technologies and in the process our thought patterns have also been transformed. Yet we require working together on personal basis to overcome our language barriers and to reevaluate our values as at times they differ. For example in some cultures promptness is an accepted way of living while in others late arrival is considered as normal and if people arrive in early or in time, this may have a totally different meaning.
Human cultural diversity is thus best demonstrated by artists who in the own different ways communicate their thoughts, their view points and feelings through their sculptures, paintings, music, dancing and other forms of expressive arts (Hill, 1998)( Braaten,, Moran,1996) Conclusion With a little concerted effort and will the skills necessary for cross-cultural communication can be adopted. People are more comfortable when they know they are being understood and are able to express themselves with clarity.
This generates mutual respect when communication barriers are broken and a neutral communication medium has been established. Yet, to overcome the cultural barriers it is important to know and understand what to speak, how to speak, how much to speak and when to speak. In sudden unexpected and unusual situations and circumstances, gesturing, making contact, the wearing of different types of clothing may all constitute different meanings and norms and thought has to be given as to how people should behave in such situations.
At the same time not reacting appropriately may lead to discomfort, frustration and eventually even hostility which is never conducive for conducting successful business. There may be times when knowledge, skills or technologies are required to be inter-transferred for business purposes, it does make good sense that people are made to feel that the work in hand is not as important as the feeling of together in being part for the completion of a project for the mutual benefit of everyone concerned.
It is also best to remain non-judgmental when dealing with people of other cultures unless one has the required information to fully understand the points of view of their counterparts. It is also appropriate for people to realize that when they are dealing with individuals from other cultures, they put themselves in the shoes of their counterparts and try to understand how they would be making much sense of what they were listening to.
Besides this, there should also be the realization that sometimes what appears to be right or true in one culture may not be right and true in other cultures. The art of skillful cross-cultural communication is through patience, perseverance and courage with some minor adjustments in people’s personalities so that they are able to fully influence and exploit the business opportunities that are available to them in the in the global business market. ( Castells, 2000) ( Moran,1995) References
Charles Mitchell, 1999, Business & Economics, a Short Course in International Business Culture Charles W. L. Hill, 1998, International Business: Competing in the Global Marketplace David O. Braaten, Robert T Moran, 1996, International Directory of Multicultural Resources IOR Global Service, 2007, http://www. iorworld. com/pages/culture_s_impact_on_business/11. php Accessed, March 18, 2007 Manuel Castells, 2000, End of Millennium: economy, society and culture Mohammad Reza Vaghefi, Steven King Paulson, William H.
Tomlinson, 1991, International Business: Theory and Practice Penny Carte, Chris J. Fox, 2004, bridging the Culture Gap: a practical guide to... Polymer News, 2004, Taylor & Francis Issue Volume 29, Number 7/July 2004 Philip Robert Harris, Robert T. Moran, Sarah Virgilia Moran, 2004, Managing Cultural Differences: Global Leadership Strategies for the 21st Century 6th Edition Robert T Moran, PhD, 1995, “Across Culture,” Global Opportunity Wayne A. Conaway, George A. Borden, Terri Morrison, 1994, Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands
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